What a treat to be able to go to Jasper National Park this fall! A trip to the mountains is what I ask for every year for my birthday. There's so much to see and enjoy!
Not being a morning person I appreciate the shorter days in autumn that mean it's not quite so difficult to get up before the sun to capture the morning glow on the mountains around Pyramid Lake.
There's also fewer tourists competing for space at the major sites like the Athabasca Falls. We were able to take our time watching the water cascade over the rim and appreciate both the volume of water and the force with which it flows through the narrow gorge that the river has been carving for centuries.
When we walk out on the other side of the canyon I'm always struck by the beautiful emerald colour of the water and the yellows and oranges and textures of the cliffs bordering the river.
Another favourite place we visited is Horseshoe Lake. Its trail is not highly developed and there aren't usually many others visiting whenever we've been there. Some days the water is like glass and the reflections of the surrounding cliffs are stunning.
We're always on the lookout for local wildlife and this year we were not disappointed. We saw several of these magnificent elk. The bulls were bugling day and into the night defending their claim on their individual harems and on their territory.
We also saw a grizzly bear on the move back into the forest after he had strayed into tourist territory. He was being chased by one of the Conservation Officers in an attempt to keep both the bear and the public at a respectful distance from one another.
I thought I might have seen more birds on this trip. But aside from the Canada Geese that flew low over our heads at our campsite, this Whiskey Jack (or Grey Jay) was the only bird curious enough to stick around and be caught on camera
We booked a boat cruise on Maligne Lake to see Spirit Island. This is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours on a warm sunny afternoon. Sadly, the boat only docks at the island for about 15 minutes and that is barely enough time to satisfy a photographer.
Our Captain made a remark about coming back for us the next day, but I'm pretty sure she was joking. However, I had a strategy and got to my favourite lookouts before too many of my fellow passengers could get into my shots!
As well we were able to take in a number of hikes in the area. I recommend reading up on the hikes prior to embarking as experienced hikers' wisdom and knowledge about the length of the trail and degree of effort required is invaluable. We learned that the Old Fort Point Trail could be tackled clock-wise for a more gradual climb to the viewpoints. I had looked at this trail previously, but couldn't imagine tackling it from the more visible side as it was simply too steep for my liking.
I feel so privileged that Jasper National Park is close enough to my home to make this so accessible at any time of the year. What beautiful scenery and a wonderful place to camp in the midst of our natural environment.